Trojan Film “The Pride of Strathmoor” Wins Jury Award at Slamdance

A huge Fight On! to Hench-DADA MFA alum Einar Baldvin, whose master’s thesis project, The Pride of Strathmoor, just took home the Jury Award for Animation Short at the 2015 Slamdance Film Festival!

And check out the trailer for The Pride of Strathmoor below!

The Pride of Strathmoor Trailer from Einar Baldvin on Vimeo.


By Tchavdar Georgiev

Tchavdar Georgiev at Sundance

Tchavdar Georgiev at Sundance

As filmmakers we often hear the saying that documentaries are “stranger than fiction” and that if you wrote this as a narrative script no one would ever believe you.

FINDERS KEEPERS that I had the privilege of editing together with directors Bryan Carberry and Clay Tweel, takes the term “stranger than fiction” to a new high. It is by far the funniest and most bizarre tale that has ever come my way involving a pitched legal battle over the ownership of a severed leg.

As a die-hard Sundancer, I always look forward to getting onto Main Street and start meeting my friends as well as total strangers wondering what are the films they enjoyed the most so far. Usually the response is: “Go see this and this film. I cried my heart out.”

Tchavdar Georgiev with Producer Ed Cunnigham

Tchavdar Georgiev with Producer Ed Cunnigham

Well this year I would proudly tell them: “Come see FINDERS KEEPERS, you will laugh all the way through.” And yet, it was the humor that I found the most challenging in shaping how to tell this story that was born out of tragedy for the family of the main character and amputee John Wood. As an editor you spend endless hours in front of the computer getting to know in an intimate way the inner workings of your character, whom you have never met in person. It is usually at the premiere after all is said and done you get to spend some time together. I was so excited to finally meet John Wood and ask his impressions of the film. He bit his lip, took a sip out of his non-alcoholic drink, looked into the distance and only then replied that he originally thought that the filmmakers are no different than any news or reality tv crew that has come out to interview him interested only in how to make the wackiest freak show out of him. But gradually as the shooting stretched over six years, him and his family started to develop a special bond with the filmmakers, where they would open up more and more on camera and speak freely about the tragedy of the plane crash in which John lost his leg and his father, as well as the dark fall into the years of alcoholism and addiction.

Tchavdar Georgiev with John Wood (main character of the film) and Wood's wife, Leslie

Tchavdar Georgiev with John Wood (main character of the film) and Wood’s wife, Leslie

It was incredibly gratifying that both John and the family were deeply touched by the film. And then John tore up and said that he was never able to get himself to apologize to his father while he was still alive for all the grieve he caused him as an addict, but the film that we have made is in a way his apology, his closure and his memorial to his Dad. He also hoped that other people would be inspired by it in their understanding of how to fight addiction.

As for me, I am grateful for being part of John Wood’s journey and working together with such an incredible team of Oscar winning producers Ed Cunningham and Seth Gordon, director Clay Tweel, as well as the many Trojans involved in the project – Bryan Carberry (director,producer, editor), Adam Gibbs (producer), Matt Radecki and Greg Lanesey (co-producers). It was also a special treat to be sitting at the premiere next to my USC mentor and teacher Lisa Leeman who taught me quite a bit about storytelling and documentary editing.

From Left to Right: Adam Gibbs (Producer), Bryan Carberry (Director, Producer, Editor) and Tchavdar Georgiev (Editor) of FINDERS KEEPERS.

From Left to Right: Adam Gibbs (Producer), Bryan Carberry (Director, Producer, Editor), and Tchavdar Georgiev (Editor) of FINDERS KEEPERS.

SCA @ Sundance: Photo Gallery

This year, a wealth of SCA alums, student, faculty, staff and friends visited the Sundance Film Festival, resulting in an unforgettable time in Park City. Check out some of their photos below; click on any to see in full view.


These USC alumni filmmakers show school pride at Sundance with a big “Fight On!”

USC Alumni Filmmakers at the Riverhorse Tavern during the SCA Filmmaker Party

SCA Head of Alumni Relations Justin Wilson, SCA Associate Director Kristi Patton, USC Associate Director of Alumni Clubs and Communities Erin Jabovy, SCA Student Industry Relations (SIR) Office Manager Ali Sarafoglou and SIR Director of Professional Development Bonnie Chi

Jeff Kehe, Landen Michael White, David Minnihan, Jared Lewis

Tyler Stevens and Bonnie Chi

Jason Berman, Chris Ridenhaur, Justin Wilson

Corey and Jessica Bodeh-Creed, Aaron Marshall

Reza Safinia, John Burr, Ashley Avis, Jonathan Fuhrman

Jose Tamayo, Kara Duncan, Alex Kattan

Sarah Malkin, Doug Blush, Emily Barclay, Alex Buono

The team behind the Award-Winning Fruitvale: Co-Producer Sev Ohanian, Editor Michael Shawver ‘12, Writer/Director Ryan Coogler ‘11 and Composer Ludwig Goransson

George Klippel and Justin Wilson

Efraim Walker, Kimberly Rosenblum, Jennifer Cohen, Andy Tan, Justin Goldberg, Mike Hartman

Navigating the Dance: Tarik Jackson, in his Own Words

After years of reading about the legends of the winter I finally decided to make the 12 hour drive from Los Angeles to the mountains of Utah to attend the 2013 Sundance film festival. Motivated by the priemere of Fruitvale myself, Lori Webster and Jamari Perry set out to witness Sundance for the first time and boy were we surprised.

We left Friday morning with no tickets, no passes and no experience at the festival.  If we were going to have a good time we had to learn quick. The first order of business at the dance is getting into screenings.  What they don’t tell you about Sundance before you get there is that all of theaters are spread throughout Park City, and there’s only one theatre located on Main street.  Main street is the center of the festival where most festival goers occupy throughout the day looking for fun activities to attend.  So if your not attending a screening at the Egyptian on Main Street you must take a bus to one of the many theaters that Park City offers.  If you are without a ticket or your a non pass holder of the film you wish to see you must show up two hours before the screening in order to get a spot in the wait list line.  The wait list is a system where you wait in line hoping there are extra seats in the screening, so that you can view the film.  If there are no extra seats you don’t get to see the film.   If you don’t get to see the film of your choice your day is basically done because by the time you travel to another theatre you will miss the wait list for the next film.

We were lucky to not only get into the premeire of Fruitvale, but also a screening of Newlyweeds directed by recent NYU grad Chaka King.  We were also able to see Stoker the new Chan-wook Park film (Old Boy) starring Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska.

Fruitvale premiered to an audience of Sundance attendees who wept so loud during the pivotal scenes that you couldn’t hear what was on the screen.  The film was magnificent and Ryan Coogler has become the model of success that all SCA students aspire to when they arrive here.  Seeing recent grads like Ryan, Sev, Gerard, Mike and Claudia premiere a film at Sundance was truly inspirational and gives us all hope that we can make pivotal features once leaving SCA.

Though our time at Sundance was short, the impact of the trip is everlasting.  Being the biggest American festival I’m sure we’ll be back, but next time we’ll be more prepared to take on the festival!

– Tarik Jackson, SCA Production MFA ’13